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Investigating the Effect of Salts and Small Molecule on Dissociation and Association Kinetics of the DNA Processivity Clamps using Fluorescence Techniques

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In this study, the stability of two protein homo-oligomers, the β clamp (homodimer) from E. coli and the Proliferation Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) from the yeast cell, were characterized. These

In this study, the stability of two protein homo-oligomers, the β clamp (homodimer) from E. coli and the Proliferation Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) from the yeast cell, were characterized. These clamps open through one interface by another protein called clamp loader, which helps it to encircle the DNA template strand. The β clamp protein binds with DNA polymerase and helps it to slide through the template strand and prevents its dissociation from the template strand. The questions need to be to answered in this research are, whether subunit stoichiometry contributes to the stability of the clamp proteins and how does the clamp loader open up the clamp, does it have to exert force on the clamp or does it take advantage of the dynamic behavior of the interface?

The x-ray crystallography structure of the β clamp suggests that there are oppositely charged amino acid pairs present at the interface of the dimer. They can form strong electrostatic interactions between them. However, for Proliferation Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA), there are no such charged amino acids present at its interface. High sodium chloride (NaCl) concentrations were used to disrupt the electrostatic interactions at the interface. The role of charged pairs in the clamp interface was characterized by measuring the apparent diffusion times (\tau_{app}) with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). However, the dissociation of the Proliferation Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) trimer does not depend on sodium chloride (NaCl) concentration.

In the next part of my thesis, potassium glutamate (KGlu) and glycine betaine (GB) were used to investigate their effect on the stability of both clamp proteins. FCS experiments with labeled β clamp and Proliferation Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) were performed containing different concentrations of potassium glutamate and glycine betaine in the solution, showed that the apparent diffusion time\ {(\tau}_{app}) increases with potassium glutamate and glycine betaine concentrations, which indicate clamps are forming higher-order oligomers. Solute molecules get excluded from the protein surface when the binding affinity of the protein surface for water molecules is more than solutes (potassium glutamate, and glycine betaine), which has a net stabilizing effect on the protein structure.

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  • 2020